People made difference in bringing CorStone to Greenville

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 15, 2000

Sam Roberts is a good guy. And whether he is on a roll talking about CorStone Industries' new state-of-the-art production facility in the Greenville industrial park, talking about Greenville or just talking about life, you get the feeling he's also an honest guy.

Sam was the speaker at Thursday's Butler County Manufacturer's Association quarterly meeting, and interestingly spent more time talking about Greenville than he talked about his company. Roberts, who is the founder, president and CEO of CorStone Industries, is passionate about his company and is passionate about his decision to bring it to Butler County, Ala.

"We visited six states and 21 cities," said Roberts. "Nowhere did we receive the treatment we received in Alabama." Roberts said it was the people that ultimately led him to the decision to locate in Greenville.

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"Everybody else talked to us about incentives, Alabama talked to us about the people," he said.

Roberts, who said he started looking at this area after an e-mail exchange with the director of World Business Alabama, was very complimentary of the Butler County Commission for Economic Development, the City of Greenville, the Greenville Industrial Development Board and the four banks in Greenville. He said all of them were instrumental in getting CorStone to Greenville.

All four local banks participated in financing the project, which included the sale of the former Russell building to CorStone by the City of Greenville. The city had previously purchased the building from Russell for what Greenville Mayor Ernie Smith said was a favorable deal. That worked out well for Roberts and CorStone Industries.

Roberts said the quality and commitment from the city and our economic development groups were superior to what he's accustomed to seeing. That's a testament to our leaders.

"You're a rare breed," Roberts said.

Roberts and Lee Pelfrey, a vice-president with the company who also spoke at the meeting, said they expect to begin shipping sinks from Greenville within 60 days. They'll increase production one line at a time and expect to employ 200 once they reach production capacity. Roberts said he expects the Greenville production plant to manufacture 300,000 sinks a year. He said 5 million are bought in the United States each year.

Roberts compared the CorStone product line of sinks to automobiles in the $18,000 to $22,000 price range.

"We identified a price point between $100 and $200 that we thought people would be willing to pay, and our research proved correct," Roberts said.

CorStone manufactures sinks from high-lustre, cross-linked, solid color acrylic on a composite backing that gives the product a stain-resistant surface and high heat and impact resistance.

The Greenville facility will be the largest dedicated acrylic sink production plant in the United States.

While the loss of Rheem and Russell during 1999 were unlucky and unfortunate for Greenville, they made the opportunity for us to meet Sam Roberts.

Sam, thanks for your confidence in Greenville. I know you'll be pleased.